Then again, that puts
her almost in league with sprinter Houston McTear, once the world's
fastest human, who, in case you missed it, died on November 1 at 58. At
his late-'70s peak he was one of the most celebrated athletes in the world. But
outside of his hometown, the only newspapers that seem to have noted his
passing are the Duluth News Tribune, which also had the good
sense (for a small fee) to announce my birth, and the Times.
Blame Jimmy Carter.
His boycott of the 1980 Olympics denied both athletes a world stage at the
height of their careers. But while McTear's life descended into drug abuse,
homelessness, and ultimate obscurity, rowing brought Lind a second Olympic
silver medal in 1984 (her first, in 1976, was the first Olympic rowing medal
ever won by an American woman), a second career in coaching, and a husband, as
well as ultimate obscurity.
But this game was
built on obscurity, and no one knows that better than Gerard Tierney. He also
knew that Joan Lind Van Blom was operating with one oar out of the
water (can you say that about someone with a brain tumor?), and thus he claims
the first-ever deadpool points for an American woman rower, Olympic or
otherwise. Eleven of them, plus five for the solo.